Thursday, July 11, 2019

The other Yankee screwdrivers...

When you think Yankee screwdrivers, the first thing that come to mind is probably the ubiquitous Yankee automatic spiral screwdrivers.

But North Bros originated all kinds of other fastening tools, including a wide variety of ratchet screwdrivers.

Lets have a look at some I came across lately.

Yankee No 3400 small offset ratchet slot screwdriver

Was available in a few other blade tips under similar series Numbers

No 3400 had 2 different sizes slot screwdriver tips,
No 3412 had 2 Phillips bits, No 1 and 2
No 3422 had a Phillips No 2 and a Reed & prince No 2
No 3423 had a Phillips No 2 and No 3

Never seen the other ones, but the No 3400 comes up often on various online sites and in person...

Yankee Stanley, that makes it post 1946

Two different blade width on it.
The larger one is 3/8, the smaller 1/4 inch wide

Lets have a closer look at patent

Patent No 2058855
DATAMP screen shot

The original patent drawing, 1936

After Stanley took over , in 1946, they continued North Bros tools at their factory in Phila and they were stamped
Later on they will gradually shift all production lines to New Britain Conn and shut down the original North Bros factory.  From there on (30 Jun 1958) ALL North Bros/Stanley tools are now simply stamped Yankee, Stanley, such as my example.

Mine is probably a mid 50s to late 50s version since it still has the 1936 pat date on it.  Patent being good for about 20 years, say possibly 1936-1956 before they removed the Pat date.

Ad from Popular Mechanic magazine of Mar 1951.
Still shows Philadelphia address

There is a similar sized version made by General Hardware Mfg Co, I do not know if it featured the same long ago expired patent design.  Instead of a series of various tools with different fixed bits, that one uses simple 1/4 inch hex bits inserts.

The General version.
Pic from Amazon

The Stubby ratchet screwdriver No 2H Handyman

A small 4 inch overall long ratchet screwdriver.  Like all North Bros products, it has a very smooth operating and rugged mechanism.  It is a delight to use.  Blade tip is 5/32 inch wide

Ad in Sep 1939 Popular Science

Besides the handy ratchet mechanism, a great advantage of these two small screwdrivers is that they both featured a proper slot screwdriver for woodworker, parallel tips.

They are both roughly 4 inches long

Great find, great tools.  If you ever come across some of North Bros products, unless it had a rough ride and put away wet, you will find that they are great tools and are smooth operators.

Bob, barely scratching the surface of his new pile of tools.  Rudy and I are back under adult supervision :-)


  1. Does the name Chapman ring any bells? That was the name of the set I used while in the Navy. Haven't found one yet in all the time I've been out. I have two of them but I don't know who made either of them.

  2. Yes Chapman just happened to be the English hand tool company that Stanley bought in 1936 to enter the UK market. Long gone


    1. I appreciate your blog a great deal, but no!, Chapman USA is still around at, which website is a bit klunky but complete, and also sold on Amazon. Still great tools, still made in the USA.

    2. Thanks for the correction Zsapoton, that's probably what Ralph sets were.

      Bob, who found new toys today ohh :-)

  3. I like the 3400 and did not know it. It would have been very useful to me last week when I had to screw something fro a very tight space. I spent quite some time to do it with a ratcheting wrench that was just barely fit within the space I had.
    I will look for one!
    Hope you got enough time to cover up what you did before your supervisor was back! :)

  4. Ha ha no. So little time, so many tools :-)

    Bob, stubbing his toe on a tool pile

  5. Bob,

    I've had the little offset ratchet thingy for years. Needed it maybe a half dozen times, those times paid for its storage.


  6. Likewise, Ken, I few tools like that. Don't comes out to play often, but when they do, its nice to have them :-)

    Bob's rationale for hoarding tools :-)

  7. I have the Yankee 3400,similar to yours but mine only says North Bros MFG CO. Philadelphia Pa Made in the USA PAT.2058855,also it has a fixed screw blade at the handle end. Was always wondering what time frame these were from, thanks for sharing this information.